Monday, June 18, 2007
Myths and Stories have always been important to me. The best definition of myth came from a teacher friend of mine who asked her class to write an explanation of what a myth was. One little girl came up with the answer....... Myths may not be true on the outside but they are true on the inside !
I've never heard better and in my current post-evangelical attempt at faith it helps me in my reading of the Bible to still access truth within the words without having to contort like crazy to make every syllable be the literal word of God.
So a year or so ago I was in Edinburgh at the book festival with Nick , Ali and Gail. We all squeezed into one of the tents to hear Jeanette Winterson speak about her latest book - Weight . Its part of the Canongate series of established authors retelling ancient myths. This particular one is the story of Atlas and Heracles. Winterson is a brilliant public speaker in her bluff northern way and made some extremely profound points. She even inspired me enough to buy the book but its taken me the best part of a year to pick it up and it was worth the wait.
Its a book I would describe as quietly profound in the midst of her trademark storytelling. It mixes the myth with some biographical stuff about her own upbringing by adoptive pentecostal parents in the north of england.
Loved it - would recommend it - click on the post title to go to her website where you will also find some provocative articles as well as all her books. I'll leave you with the 2 quotes from the book which stopped me in my tracks and demanded that i read them again allowing the meaning to sink in.
"My mother said we all have our cross to bear. She paraded hers like a medieval martyr,notched,gouged,bleeding. She Believed in Christ , but not in his cross bearing qualities. She seemed to forget that he had borne the cross so that we dont have to. Is life a gift or a burden ?
"Breathe in. Breathe Out. Oxygen is carcinogenic and likely puts a limit on our life span. It would be unwise though, to try to extend life by not breathing at all."